LOS ANGELES: Tesla has upgraded its $109,000 electric sports car, Roadsters, with a huge boost to its battery, enabling it to drive 400 miles on a single charge.
To prove the capabilities, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the firm plans to drive the car from San Francisco to LA in a single trip. The firm first released the roadster in 2008. It will out-drag a Ferrari, hitting 60mph in just 3.7 seconds, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were among the first customers to get their $109,000 Roadsters.
However, in terms of popularity, is has been superseded by the Model S, a more ‘grown up’ sedan – and second hand model now sell four around $22,000, more than its original list price, since production stopped in 2012. However, the original car was a historic breakthrough for the electric car industry. The original Roadster battery was the very first lithium ion battery put into production in any vehicle.
‘It was state of the art in 2008, but cell technology has improved substantially since then,’ Tesla said. ‘We have identified a new cell that has 31% more energy than the original Roadster cell. ‘Using this new cell we have created a battery pack that delivers roughly 70kWh in the same package as the original battery.’
The firm has also made a new aero kit for the car to reduce drag by 15%, amd revealed tyres with 20% less drag. ‘Combining all of these improvements we can achieve a predicted 40-50% improvement on range between the original Roadster and Roadster 3.0,’ it said. ‘There is a set of speeds and driving conditions where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles. ‘We will be demonstrating this in the real world during a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the early weeks of 2015.’
Appointments for upgrading Roadsters will be taken this spring once the new battery pack finishes safety validation. ‘We are confident that this will not be the last update the Roadster will receive in the many years to come,’ it said.
The firm also revealed a major update for its car software. ‘Software v6.0 update introduces traffic-based navigation and commute advice, provides an in-car view of daily schedules, enables location-based air suspension settings, and allows owners to name their Model S and start it remotely using their mobile phone,’ it said.
However the firm has been hit by falling gas prices. A top analyst slashed his earnings projections for the California-based auto company earlier this month, estimating that Tesla will sell 40percent fewer cars in the next five years than he had previously forecast.
Tesla’s stock has fallen 31percent since hitting a high in September. On Monday is closed below $200 a share fro the first time since May – hitting a seven-month low. Oil prices have plunged more than 40 percent during that time period and gas is down to $2 a gallon in many states.